Support groups for Alzheimer's caregivers: Creating our own space in uncertain times
Older men are often excluded from family caregiving research despite the steady increase in the number of husbands assuming primary caregiving roles. We explored perceptions of older, male caregivers' experiences with caring for a wife with Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and examined what aspects of the support group were beneficial. Our qualitative research methods invited six caregivers ranging in age from 74 to 85 years to narratively construct their perspectives on caring for their wives with Alzheimer's Disease and benefits of participation in an all-male support group. Thematic analyses revealed care-givers faced several transitions. "Losses related to their personal relationships with their wife, family, and self," captured as loss of golden years. The second area, benefits and improvements of support groups, were captured in the following theme: "creating our own space," which included two sub-themes: "releasing our frustration" and "developing coping strategies." There was also "Gendered experience of caregiving." This study revealed that male caregivers benefited from the support and company of other men in similar caregiving situations. Results from this study have implications for health care professionals for the development of psychosocial educational groups aimed at providing support to male caregivers.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Social work in mental health
Simpson, G. M., Stansbury, K., Wilks, S. E., Pressley, T., Parker, M., & McDougall, G. J. (2018). Support groups for Alzheimer's caregivers: Creating our own space in uncertain times. Social work in mental health, 16 (3), 303-320. https://doi.org/10.1080/15332985.2017.1395780